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Capacity constraints, asymmetries, and the business cycle

  • Gary D. Hansen

    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Edward C. Prescott

    (Arizona State University)

We study how an occasionally binding capacity constraint affects the properties of business cycles. A real business cycle model is constructed where production takes place at individual plants and the number of plants operated varies over the cycle. The capacity constraint binds in states where all plants are operated. We derive the aggregate production function for this economy, which turns out to differ from the standard Cobb.Douglas function while retaining its desirable properties. The business cycle features of this one-sector growth model are similar to those of a standard real business cycle model in most respects. Our model does, however, display some properties of actual economies that standard models do not. In particular, business cycles in our model are asymmetric--troughs are deeper on average than peaks are tall. Also, labor's share of income is counter-cyclical, as it is in US data. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 850-865

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:8:y:2005:i:4:p:850-865
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  1. Gomme, P. & Greenwood, J., 1993. "On the Cyclical Allocation of Risk," RCER Working Papers 355, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1996. "Factor-Hoarding and the Propagation of Business-Cycle Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1154-74, December.
  3. Andreas Hornstein & Edward C. Prescott, 1989. "The firm and the plant in general equilibrium theory," Staff Report 126, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  5. Simon Gilchrist & John C. Williams, 2000. "Putty-Clay and Investment: A Business Cycle Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 928-960, October.
  6. Altug, Sumru & Ashley, Richard A. & Patterson, Douglas M., 1999. "Are Technology Shocks Nonlinear?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(04), pages 506-533, December.
  7. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  8. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  9. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1989. "Hours and employment variation in business cycle theory," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 17, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2000. "Is the stock market overvalued?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 20-40.
  11. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  12. Daniel E. Sichel, 1989. "Business cycle asymmetry: a deeper look," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 93, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Jean-Fran├žois Fagnart & Omar Licandro & Franck Portier, 1999. "Firm Heterogeneity, Capacity Utilization and the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(2), pages 433-455, April.
  14. Thomas F. Cooley & Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1994. "Equilibrium business cycles with idle resources and variable capacity utilization," Working Papers 94-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  15. repec:cup:macdyn:v:3:y:1999:i:4:p:506-33 is not listed on IDEAS
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